The 2016 Outback is Subaru’s “Sport Utility Wagon,” offering the benefits of both an SUV and a midsize station wagon. It’s a combination that’s not readily available elsewhere, but does continue to be quite popular for Subaru.
The Subaru Outback seats five and comes standard with all-wheel drive. Its four-trim lineup includes three four-cylinder grades (2.5i 2.5i Premium, and 2.5i Limited) plus the six-cylinder 3.6R Limited.
The uplevel Outbacks also received more content for 2016. The Limited editions, for example, benefit from a retuned suspension, while Premium and higher models welcome Starlink Safety and Security features, which include automatic collision notification, emergency assistance and more. Another new safety enhancement is the addition of lane keeping assist to Subaru’s available EyeSight driver-assistance bundle.
The Outback’s roots as a station wagon can be seen in its proportions, yet it also checks the boxes for SUV design cues with 8.7 inches of ground clearance, an upright grille and standard roof rails. Projector-beam halogen headlights and 17-inch wheels are standard on all models except the Limited grades, which ride on 18-inch alloys and feature high-intensity discharge lighting up front. Fog lights are standard above the entry trim as well. Similarly, all Outbacks except for the entry version can be ordered with a power moonroof.
A versatile cabin is a hallmark of the 2016 Subaru Outback, which can fit five people and 35.5 cubic feet of cargo behind its rear seats. Alternatively, those 60/40 split-folding rear seats fold to provide 73.3 cubic feet of cargo space. Front-seat heating is then standard with the Premium trims, while the range-topping Limited brings heated rear seating and leather-trimmed appointments. The Premium trim also adds a few bonuses specifically for the driver, including a 10-way power-adjustable seat.
The Outback’s engine specs are competitive on the surface, starting with a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder unit that delivers 175 horsepower, 174 pound-feet of torque and an EPA-estimated 25/33 mpg city/highway. As for the 3.6-liter six-cylinder that’s available on Limited trims, it makes 256 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque, complemented by EPA figures of 20/27 mpg city/highway, along with a towing maximum of 2,700 pounds. Yet digging a little deeper turns up two special Subaru powertrain benefits for all models: Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is standard on all Outbacks, and all Subaru SUVs leverage a compact, boxer-style engine that lowers a vehicle’s center of gravity for improved handling. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is also standard for all Outback models.
The Outback is backed by a fairly comprehensive technology menu, with even entry-level models coming with a standard rearview camera and a Bluetooth-enabled infotainment system with a 6.2-inch touch screen. Moving up the trims, the Outback Premium is paired with a 7-inch touch screen and a six-speaker audio setup, and the Limited versions are fitted with Harman Kardon premium audio system that includes 12 speakers and a 576-watt amp. Navigation is optional in Premium and Limited grades.
On the safety front, blind-spot detection with a rear cross-traffic alert is available/standard for Premium and Limited Outback models. The Subaru EyeSight bundle is available separately for those trims, pulling together adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure and sway warning and lane-keeping assistance.